So, I saw House of Flying Daggers today.
I wanted to love it! Parts of it are amazing, and the colors, and the sounds, and the way the characters' breathing is as important as dialogue, and the way scenes are blocked to show different seasons of the year, depending on what's happening emotionally and dramatically, spring flowers and green trees and yellow leaves and white birches... about 3/4 of the way through the movie, I decided it was fucking BRILLIANT. But I guess the writers were trying to make a Challenge deadline, or something, because after that it all spun out of control, and ended. Meh.
Part of the problem was that this movie was unabashedly a romance. I have nothing against that, not at all, but all the politics and intrigue and mysterious, shifting loyalties and sudden revelations? All got lost when it came down to a Woman and Two Men. That is so not cool. Dude! If you're going to make a movie with a Corrupt Government and a Rebel Alliance and Fighting and Enormous Beliefs, don't let it all get lost for 20 minutes of blood sprinkling across the snow, and then credits. The backdrop has to mean something, or the drama played out against it becomes meaningless, too. But I am only repeating fanfic 101, here. What this movie needed was a good stern beta.
That said, it really was worth seeing, for the beauty and for the falling in love stuff, which was delicate and convincing and subtle.